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Poster: Jim F Date: Jan 28, 2011 11:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Your first show...

Not much I can add to that! I'm very interested in hearing these newer pespectives just as much as I love hearing the stories of those who first got on the bus in 69, 79, or 89.

While the whole thing is in once sense a timeless experience, it can also be the opposite, in terms of how people discover the music, how/when/where they see the shows, the technology factor, etc.

Pretty much as soon I as discovered the world of live tapes-which were hard to obtain when I first got into it, shortly before the digital age made this music as widely and easily available as it is now-I became pretty obsessive. I probably got equally as obsessive about learning as much about the history and the culture as I did collecting and listening to the music. I nearly majored in Sociology in college (I wound up majoring in social work, double minored in sociology and psychology), and my growing evolution as a Deadhead provided me with all sorts of material for my research papers. The GD culture was something I wrote about quite a lot back in the college days. It's something I am still prone to ramble about, if you catch me on the right day.

Something I'm interested in that I've talked about before is how new people will be turned onto this music and how the culture will survive in 20 years or so. After the surviving members are all gone, the DSO's are going to be the elder statesmen torch carriers, and it will be interesting to see how the culture evolves from there. While I wish I had been around to see the Dead evolve from their earliest years, I am at the least thankful that I got to experience it during this transition period of the last 15 years.

For me, when I talk about the "Grateful Dead Culture," a lot of my thoughts and feelings come from the many years and hundreds of shows of experience in our little local scene here in St. Louis. I know there are a lot of GD cover bands out there, but I've never really known of anyplace else like St. Louis. Like I've said before, we have two (drastically different) GD cover bands here that have been playing locally for a long time, one of them over 30 years, the other around 20. Both bands, though primarily one of them, have also long held campout festivals in Missouri, which have only gotten more popular. When I first started attending, it was a big deal to break the 2000 attendance number. Now events typically host somewhere between 5000-8000 people.

At any rate, the point is that my experience in that scene is by far greater than my total number of experiences in the more "national" scene, seeing shows by The Other Ones, Phil, Ratdog, Furthur, etc. And eventually it's going to be that way for all modern Deadheads. Sure one can argue that the culture is thriving today because of all of the other "jam bands" out there like Phish and Panic and SCI and all those guys. But I've always felt a distinction among it all, it's like how I've always said I'm not a hippie, I'm a Deadhead. Those other bands are well and good enough to satisfy the average music loving hippie, but there will always be only ONE Grateful Dead. There are many modern bands out there doing it today that can provide great musical experiences, but for some of us, we just need some good old Grateful Dead. Where will we go for the song after the singer has gone?

Enough of all that for now, though...